The weather report for the day was bleak: severe thunder showers were predicted to hit the city for the majority of the morning. Nevertheless, 70 plus Horizon Health Services employees put on their coats and rain boots and headed downtown for the Buffalo Pride Parade. With flags, banners, and signs in hand, we lined up to show our support for the LGBTQ community. And just as the parade began, the sun emerged providing a beautiful day for an important cause.
Afterward, I caught up with Horizon’s Diversity Committee Chair, Elizabeth Hole to discuss Horizon’s history with the Buffalo Pride Parade:
How did Horizon decide to get involved in the Pride Parade and how many years have we been involved?
Horizon has participated in the Buffalo Pride Parade for 4 consecutive years. Our participation has grown from single digits the first year to nearly 80 attendees in 2017! This is an event that many Horizon employees feel passionate about, so our numbers continue to grow.
What does the Pride Parade mean to you?
The Pride Parade is bittersweet. While it marks a day when we can publicly celebrate the accomplishments of our community and its allies, it’s also is a time to look back to mourn lives lost, and to look forward to the multiplicity of work that still needs to be done to ensure protection for all LGBTQ citizens of our nation. June is special to me personally because it also marks the month of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell vs. Hodges, a ruling that made marriage equality the law of the land and made my own marriage much more meaningful.
What do you think the Pride Parade/Pride Week means to the city of Buffalo?
The City of Good Neighbors knows how to have fun and celebrate, especially when the weather is warm and sunny! On a serious note, we as New Yorkers are at the forefront of progress when it comes to non-discrimination protections. Sexual orientation has been a protected status in New York State since 2003, yet there are still 32 states that lack protections for LGBTQ individuals. Living in such an inclusive state and city can sometimes make us forget the challenges our brothers and sisters face across state lines.
Overall Horizon Supports Equality for ALL! Our team had such a blast celebrating our diversity and culture. We hope to have even more team members join us next year.